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litter box train dog

    How To Litter Box Train Your Dog

    By Teresa Heath





From using the crate consistently or the passive paper training AREA you will need to gradually increase the roaming territory that you let your dog loose in to test and see if he will go to the potty place on his own.


For example, if you are using an ex-pen or gated small room, I encourage you to expand your dog's territory to the nearest room, then after he has mastered that area, continue to expand the territory until he has free roam of the ENTIRE house.


During this phase of the training, I tend to keep the leash and collar on my dogs.


This makes for easier KEEPING control if they start to make a mistake.


It is also better all around to guide them using the leash and collar instead of carrying them to the proper potty place.


REMEMBER, That way they are using their own four feet to walk the right way to the right place.





Also, using the leash and collar it is good to guide your doggie through lots of practice runs going back and forth to the potty place and speaking to them the phrase you have chosen to encourage the proper behavior.



For example.....As I am guiding my puppy from one corner of the room to the potty place and saying, "Remember, potty on the pad".



During this phase I do a lot of practice runs with them, to remind them of the correct behavior, using my happy voice and giving them lots of happy touches.



My observation of professional trainers of all kinds of animals, this is exactly how they do it.


Practicing over and over, giving praise for each positive action.







Your dog will not know to go from one room to another in the beginning on his own, he has to be taught.


It helps if you don't expect too much too soon, then you won't be disappointed.



I have discovered during this venture that a lot of people are under the assumption that dogs just instinctively  immediately know what to do, right away without being taught.



I have often wondered why people think that way, because it can only lead to discouragement and possibly even anger towards their dog.




Keeping the right frame of mind when it comes to training your dog will make all the difference in his attitude towards training altogether.



Look at your dog as their brain being a blank page and your are going to fill it up with knowledge on what you want him to do.



You are creating a habit for your dog and just like people, it takes repetition many times before the habit is secure.



Little by little increase the area where you allow your dog to be without restriction as he becomes more faithful to use the proper potty place.



Finally, your dog will become used to going potty on the paper or pad every time without fail and without any help from you.



Because you have taken all the proper precautions and taken all the right steps to get him to the place where he knows habitually where to go potty every time!



**A note importance here.....if at any time during the training your dog seems to regress in his going potty in the proper place it most likely is because you rushed to the next step  a little too soon.



It is amazing to me how dogs can be so different. I have had friends that have had their dogs be completely litter box trained in just a few days and other dogs take two months or more.




Just like people, dogs have a personality and level of restraint and self-will or stubbornness some might want to say.







You deserve a huge pat on the back for getting your dog to this point. GOOD JOB!




Before We Move on To The Final Step....Let's go over....



** Teaching An Older Dog A New Trick!


As I have mentioned before, this same technique can work for any dog, even older dogs. 



You use the exact same methods and steps, you just might have to be more PATIENT and diligent, for a longer period of time if it involves breaking previously learned habits.



Just like us humans, habits sometimes are hard to break, but they CAN be broken!



You must reinforce the desired behavior CONSISTENTLY. 



Again, you the trainer have the ball in your court.  It will happen, you might just have to work a little harder at it. 



That is why it is MOST important to make sure the training goes well. 



YOU try to create a situation where your dog NEVER goes potty where he should not. 



To do this YOU must keep the dog in the crate or confined area when you are not available or cannot be in control. 



I strongly encourage my older dog owners to do the passive paper training technique preferably, it can be quite traumatic for your older dog to be put in a crate and not get extremely upset.



One good thing about the older dog, they do not have to go potty as often as the puppy.


Their bladders are mature and they are able to control where and when they go.




If your older dog has been used to going outside, it will be some work for you to retrain him to go on paper inside, but it is possible.



For the dog who has been used to pottying in the grass, you might want to bring some dirt  and grass inside and place it on the paper where you want him to go.




That has actually worked very well for some of my other customers.


I even had one customer that purchased a piece of sod to put on the paper to get his dog started going inside.



Another suggestion is to confine him to an area where he has access to only the paper to go potty while you are out.

(Referring again to the passive paper training method.)



Another tip that has worked well for other owner of an older dog, but is kind of hassle, is to find the spot where your dog goes regularly outside and start there by putting some paper underneath where he goes to catch some remnants of his droppings.




This then would be used to provide a scent on the paper or pad inside to encourage your dog to go potty on the paper.




It can be done, just like I said before,  it only takes work and patience on your part.




It all depends on how serious you are about your dog being litter box trained.




I have spoken to many who that had no choice because they were forced to move somewhere where there was no yard or grass for their dog to relieve himself outside and had to find a way to keep it inside or have to let their beloved pet go altogether.




There is no reason to have to live without your pet in any living environment with this kind of training available.




I have also made many new friends who have had the desire to have a dog but because of living in an apartment or condo they did not think they could and when they found out about my training they have been ecstatic to be able to experience having a dog.




You may go on to the next step, ONLY when your puppy or dog is completely paper or pad trained.  And that should be on a piece of paper or pad the same size as the litter box you are going to use for your dog.


Some Extra Notes on Re-Housetraining Your Older Dog


Many adult dogs have been already housetrained to go outside or if they were gotten from a shelter they might have been kept in a place where they went potty right there in their cage. 



This may cause a little problem in proper housetraining,  but it is not impossible. 



You will need some time to adapt to your new dog's habits and signals and routines when it comes to setting a potty schedule.


You will need to start fresh from the very beginning as if this dog has never been housetrained. 




The re-training process should go quickly.  It will go better if you try to make sure you prevent accidents from happening.




Supervise, Supervise, Supervise


Just like you do with a puppy, make sure you do not allow your older dog an opportunity to go potty anywhere but in the right place.



If he goes, praise, praise, praise! Make a very big deal out of it!!!





As with the younger puppies, when you are not able to watch your older dog, he must be in the crate or confined area when you are not able to watch him like a hawk!


Now, that your dog or puppy is completely paper or pad trained. You can now move on to the next and final step of litter box training.



Questions? Email me:




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